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Top music releases for December 2016

A look back at the best in dance from the closing month of 2016.

Ricardo Villalobos 'Melo De Melo' / Drumma Records / 6 December

Ricardo Villalobos got together with fellow Chilean grafter, Umho, to collaborate on a new EP under artist title, Ricmho. Both artists knuckled down to craft the first of the two tracks, 'Por Suerte', but it's Villalobos' solo sweat on the title track that stirred our interest. You're bouncing within the first five seconds to what becomes a steady kick, and then halfway through the 20-minute production, he releases an unwinding sample of a string quartet that's nudged into distortion.

Brassica 'Time Tunnel' / Feel My Bicep / 9 December

Brassica can be a type of plant found in the mustard family, or an artist most recently found in Bicep's new signings catalogue. 'Time Tunnel' is one of four to be taken from Brassica's EP of the same title, and it's a solid signing for the Irish duo with forces in acid, breaks and house featuring across the tracks.

Josh Wink 'Meditation Will Manifest' / R&S Records / 16 December

Originally released in 1994 on R&S Records, this acid house classic was dug up and dusted off in 2016 by Nina Kraviz and Ricardo Villalobos. Twenty-two years after it was first pushed to clubbers, it shot out to became a secret weapon, and Wink must be delighted at its ability to connect the decades. On 16 December, it bagged its first digital release on Belgian label, R&S Records, and in February this year it's set for a vinyl re-release. It's a classic and it deserves a space in your collection.

Kian T 'Room 69' / Toy Tonics / 16 December

Kian T is a producer whose descriptor has him down as a bit of a mysterious and crazy character. The mystery presumably lies in us knowing only a few things about him: he lives in an isolated house on top of a hill somewhere in Italy, he's immersed in his collection of rare old synths and vintage samplers, and a little dog and a bottle of red wine are what keeps him company. We also know that making beats is his life and when they come out as fat and rich as 'Room 69', maybe we should all consider packing up to the hills of Italy – not without the dog, music and red wine, of course.

Levon Vincent 'Arpeggiator Track' / Novel Sound / 12 December

Berlin-based American producer, Levon Vincent, bolstered his own imprint in December with the release of this shuddering, stirring beast. Trigger happy with sonic chatter that ploughs through to boost your serotonin centre, it sure as hell whips your arse into gear for a good get down.

iO (Mulen) 'ypt58' / Apollonia Music / December 9

Aleksandr Voznichenko, a.k.a iO (Mulen), returns to Apollonia Music with generous six-track EP, Letters And Numbers. The fat package is the Ukrainian producer's second release of 2016 on the Parisian label, and from it we've honed in on the rolling basslines and soothing, atmospheric synths that define 'ypt58'.

Kyle Dixon & Michael Stein 'Stranger Things' (Dema Bootleg Remix) / 15 December

Netflix's paranormal retro-fest, Stranger Things, had us braced for tearing through the woods on bikes in search for extraterrestrial beings, and it left us with a theme tune that served a greater purpose than solely introducing the show. Italian producer, Dema, saw the track's greater potential for the clubbing community and sharpened its edges for our dancefloors. Already played and supported by Adam Beyer, Richie Hawtin, Monika Kruse, Hot Since 82 and Carlo Lio, among more, you may have already undergone a transition thanks to a blast of Dema's rework.

Kim English 'Learn 2 Luv' Francois K's Atmospheric Mood (Pearson Sound Mix) / Nervous Records / 3 December

Pearson Sound celebrated with Nervous Records for its 25th anniversary by remixing a remix – a first for the British producer. Initially daunted by the New York-based label's request, his eureka moment came after a few days digging which landed him on Francois K's ambient interlude mix of Kim English. Busied bass and percussion prop up this weapon, however, halfway through its divided by a spaced-out atmospheric passage before we're dropped back into the bass.

Laksa 'Contrasts' / Timedance / 9 December

Timedance's last EP of 2016 sped in from London producer, Laksa, and the Contrasts EP is his first venture with the Bristol-based imprint. The breakbeat influenced title track lurches forward with concrete-crushing kicks, and then, ladies and gentlemen, you crack open the centre and it radiates with a shower of pad breaks.

Languages 'Sleep Stream' (Ewan Pearson Remix) / Days of Being Wild / 2 December

Languages launched their first EP at the end of summer 2016. Featuring in their offering of psych-pop goodness is 'Sleep Stream', a single that's smothered in funky bass lines, harp sounds, airy guitar lines and echoing voices. British remixer, Ewan Pearson, snapped it up and produced an instrumental version that flutters and floats with a sultriness that charms your senses.

WORDS l Aimee Lawrence

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